Let’s Talk: Are these MPs right about politicians’ entitlements? 27

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Denison independent MHR Andrew Wilkie is pushing for real-time reporting of expense claims and increased speed of reform. He wants real time reporting of how MPs spend their entitlements, a move he says would go a long way to providing transparency of the system. He also wants a review done of how MPs spent their entitlements in the last parliament.

Mr Wilkie and Victorian independent Cathy McGowan have tabled a motion in the House of Representatives calling for the Federal Government to reform parliamentary entitlements. He said the existing entitlements system was out of step with community expectations.

“It’s too generous, too lenient and lets politicians get away with expense claims that might be within the rules but are clearly improper and not acceptable to the community,” he said.

“When an MP is found to have done something improper, and when there is a pattern, the AFP should be called in because it is fraud. It’s as simple as that,” Mr Wilkie says.

“There is a need for reform. The community wants reform,” Mr Wilkie says.

“It is simply outrageous that it is commonplace in this place for parliamentarians to go anywhere Australia, pretty much for personal reasons, and then to dress it up as a legitimate trip.”

After former federal politicians failed in their bid to claw even bigger retirement pensions and more free travel from taxpayers and in the wake of the comments from the independent MPs, the Turnbull government has revived plans to abolish the Life Gold Pass. This is an entitlement which gives former MPs free business-class travel on the taxpayer’s dollar.

Read more: Decision made on whether retired politicians will get a bigger slice of the pie

Special Minister of State Scott Ryan says an Abbott government-era bill to kill off the controversial entitlement will be reintroduced to Parliament in the coming weeks, after lapsing at the July election.

Senator Ryan said an independent review earlier this year had also recommended that a substantial investment in parliamentarians’ expense technology was required to enable more regular reporting.

The Abbott government announced the Life Gold Pass plan in its 2014 budget in an effort to show that the “age of entitlement” was over for everyone – even former MPs on the gravy plane. The changes would kick about 200 former MPs off the scheme and save taxpayers about $1.5 million a year.

The bill passed the lower house with bipartisan support but then mysteriously stalled in the Senate. The government never brought the bill on for a vote even though it had Labor, Greens and crossbench support.

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  1. Good on you Andrew but more must be done.

  2. Long overdue. The age of entitlement is long over. Politicians need to live in the real world, not lala land.

    1 REPLY
    • Yes the age of entitlement should have been gone long ago. Who else when they get the sack (MP voted out) would
      continue to receive payment from their employer for the rest of their life, AND free or discounted travel? When an MP
      loses their job, then they should also lose their salary. We hear time and again, of previous MPs who have obtained employment in the private sector (and sometimes in a government dept) receiving an extremely good salary, way above anything the majority of regular taxpayers earn, still retaining the ‘retirement payment’ from their days as an MP.
      IT STINKS!!

      1 REPLY
  3. Andrew Wilkie & Cathie McGowan, I commend you for your idea to bring this to the table although I don’t like your chances as most of the politicians out there are just greedy money grabbing people who have absolutely no idea nor do they care how the majority of Australians are living. To make their expense claims more transparent and more frequently reviewed would certainly be a way of keeping track of who is trying to rip off us Australians. As well Politicians are the only people who keep getting paid when they finish “employment” and this is just ludicrous. The money we save could be better spent on our very “sick” health system or just paying off some of the deficit. When companies go bust they are put into receivership. Australia is in debt to the tune of 44.5 Billion $ and yet politicians still put their hand out for exorbitant expenses and ongoing payments after retirement.
    You have my utmost support and I am sure that the majority of Australian citizens would be with you. Unfortunately though I don’t think you will get any support from your fellow pollies. They will actually think that you are mad and try to drive you out of parliament

  4. Absolutely is he right! It’s way over time that the public cash cow for these spoiled and overpaid “public servants” to be reigned in to line line brought back to reality with the rest of us who struggle to make ends meet.

  5. It’s a start. I personally feel that we should also be targeting how much a politician receives after he/she leaves parliament.
    Their pension should only commence to be paid at the same age as the aged pension and should be the same monitory value.
    Their salary whilst in parliament should be a base rate with performance based increases and a basic expense account for things like travel and accommodation.
    We are currently paying our politicians much more than they warrant.

  6. They should go another step and the government should be totally transparent. Show us what the total revenue that is raised each year and then what they are spending it on, I think it is a simple request

    1 REPLY
  7. why do ppl think young folks male and female , want to go into politik ? not because they want to do good for us working and taxpaying volk, no because its easy money and so easy to get

  8. Long overdue
    Dont hold back with the investigation
    Prevent Turnabout and Shortof putting a ban on this

  9. Gough Whitlam introduced for the abolition of gold passes back in the 70s but was rejected by the parliamentarians themselves,also in Jan 14 they got a $40,000.00 pay rise in lieu of the passes,it was then deferred for “500 days because of the complexity of removing the privilege,i bet they still got the rise

  10. Well done Andrew … lets see how far this goes, cant see too many voting for this .. However there is such a thing as people power .We cant keep letti g them help themselves to public money

  11. I have to asked the government were is my GOLD PASSES to all these Entitement and PRIVILLEGES WHEN I RETIREMENT . MUSH BE IN THE post

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